Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2014

J40 Farm Crawl set Saturday

Jul 25, 2014

KEOSAUQUA — The J40 Farm Crawl returns from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for the annual “celebration of all things From Pittsburg to Lebanon and beyond.”

“Exploring the farms and businesses along J40 is a great way to see how family farms and family businesses are finding their niche in the Iowa rural landscape,” said Kim Steele-Blair, proprietress of Bloom and Bark Farm and an organizer for the event.

The J40 Farm Crawl showcases eight businesses ranging from family farms to local artisans and crafters.

In Pittsburg, visit Bob Norman’s restoration studio. Pittsburg General Store - Restoration & Appraisal is in a century-old building, along with fine, antiques and paintings. Norman is the only formally trained conservator in the state of Iowa.

On west along J40, is Kim Steele-Blair and Tim Blair’s Bloom and Bark Farm. Visitors can explore gardens and greenhouses and a hand-built “Hobbit House” under construction. Visitors can see how artisan breads are baked in hand-crafted clay ovens, then sample the bread, fresh produce and mint water.

Nearby is the Villages Folk School. A staff of 30 teaching artists offer classes year round to preserve traditional arts and educate people about Van Buren County. Some of the artists will be at the Bloom and Bark Farm.

Also nearby in Selma is the family-owned and operated Crane Winery. The winery will offer samples and sales at the Bloom and Bark Farm.

Lengacher’s Greenhouse has its greenhouses and fields filled with mums, squash, pumpkins, Indian corn and more. A horse-drawn wagon will take visitors on a tour.

Near Cantril, LB Construction is hosting an open house of a barn with living quarters. New construction uses old barn boards and an open beam concept. It features a hand-built cedar staircase, hardwood flooring and custom-built cabinets. Grilled hot dogs and homemade pie will be available.

In Milton, Yoder’s Indian Creek Furniture, an Eldon Yoder family-owned business crafting furniture since 1981, will be open and serving free homemade ice cream all day.

In Lebanon, the Amish School will be serving a benefit breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon. The menu includes biscuits and gravy or pancakes and sausage. Fresh baked treats also will be available. Freewill donations will be accepted.

In Bloomfield, the Troy Academy will be open for visitors. The academy, built in 1853-54, was the first institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. The first class held at the academy started Nov. 2, 1854, It was open for 33 years, closing its doors in 1888.

The Milton Creamery in Milton will be open, with samples of its award-winning and world-recognized cheeses. The small factory’s cheeses are handcrafted with milk from hand-milked cows.

Maps and brochures can be downloaded at www.villagesofvanburen.com or contact Steele-Blair at bloomandbark@netins.net or 319-293-6168. Brochures also are available at vendor sites.

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